UFG IS TO CHANGE ITS NAME AND EXPAND CONCEPT OF PHILANTHROPY
Conference of the Ukrainian Grantmakers Forum „Philanthropy in Ukraine — Way to the European Standards” took place in Kyiv on May 22, 2007. Leaders of the most successful Ukrainian and international foundations, representatives of Ukrainian companies, journalists and public officials shared best practices, informed on new approaches and obstacles faced in the sphere of philanthropy, discussed specific features of the legislative regulation and standards of philanthropy in Ukraine
Benefactors are new partners the Government looks for cooperation with, said Natalia Dniprenko, State Authorities and Public, Communications Department of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. She informed that the special Department for Civil Society Promotion had been established for the first time in Ukraine’s history. According to her, the Department will present the relevant concept for public discussion and open the “e-democracy portal”.
Yevhen Bystrytskyi, Chair of the Board of the Ukrainian Grantmakers Forum, said that UGF would focus on coordination of charitable organization’s efforts. The Government, cooperation with the cluster association would be more convenient, and philanthropists would find additional leverage for advocating among public authorities. “So far, we can see authorities and people on the streets. When charitable activities become integrated and streamlined, governed by ethical and professional standards, it will penetrate deeper into the society”, — explains Yevhen Bystrytskyi.
Participants of the conference pointed out that domestic charitable organizations lack efficient PR. Recent survey, conducted by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology demonstrated that only 25 % of Ukrainians were aware of activities of philanthropic organizations in Ukraine, and only 8 % could recall specific names. About 50 % of adult population in Ukraine believes that charitable organizations work for public benefit. However, significant part of respondents are of opinion that that philanthropists care of positive image of their founders only (18 %), raise funds for own needs using illegitimate methods (9%) or promote interests of international organizations affecting domestic policy of the state (8%). Citizens of Ukraine believe that charitable organizations should focused on support to disabled and vulnerable children and elderly. Also, they touched upon role of local communities as promoters of civil society development in Ukraine.
Natalia Dniprenko said that the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine should draft relevant laws on community-level charity. However, no theoretical basis has been developed yet in this field. Also, she called upon parties concerned to invest into development of the “Democracy Science”.
Ros McLaren from Charles Stewart Mott Foundation pointed out that their organization focused on creation and development of local community foundations. Yevhen Bystrytskyi said they were ready to support community development both on the local level, and on the level of administrative and territorial reform, which was suspended in 2005.
In his review of status of legislation on charity Oleksandr Vinnikov, UCAN Legal Adviser highlighted issue of registration of charitable funds, which takes about 30 days in Europe and about 90 days — in Ukraine. “Actually, corporate philanthropy in Ukraine are funds withdrawn from shareholders after taxation, — says Oleksandr Vinnikov, — because tax laws do not promote philanthropy. Also, he urged donors to unify their reporting standards. Of course, legislative regulation would be the simplest way, but expert insists on relevance of professional standards. He claims that various reports are required for one-time donation and a long-term charitable program. They also discussed the idea of percentage philanthropy, that is the right of taxpayers to designate a certain percentage of their income tax paid to specific non-profit charitable organizations. Many states succeeded in implementation of such system, as well as tax exemptions for philanthropists.
Informing on level of public confidence in charitable organizations, Oleksandr Maksymchuk, Chair of the Ukraine – 2000 Foundation, said that charitable organizations in USA raised USD 249 million in 2006; 75 % donations came from private entities. Private donations prevail in Great Britain and Germany. In Ukraine, private charity does not exceed 15 %. In addition, Mykola Dejchakivskyi, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, said that non-profit organizations invest own funds into philanthropic projects (maybe, due to the fact that US hospital and universities also fall within this category). According to Oleksandr Maksymchuk, there were one hundred foundations in Kyiv in 1913, and their activities were treated as status building. In order to gain prestige, one should follow simple standards in reporting, transparency, public access to information on the fund’s operations and administrative expenses, says Director of Ukraine – 3000.
Yakiv Rohalin, Director of Donetsk Municipal Charitable Foundation Dobrota, says that monthly reports and daily work with prospective donors is very efficient. “Nobody will wait for information on your activities. Mr. Rohalin got the Fundraiser of the Year Award in 2002 as he had transformed traditional recipients — disabled individuals, libraries and even fiscal agencies — into donors. Colleagues believe that his achievements rely upon motivating skills. Before, Foxtrot Group received many letters bagging for help. In order to consolidate their effort and find those who were in need, Foxtrot has created the social centers network “Prospects”. Today they operate 27 associations of homeowners, publish the Neighbor’s Bulletins, which cover local affairs and streamline assistance. Free legal advice bureau established under social centers, supports establishment of self-organization bodies of the population. They run centers for pensioners, women, film-lovers and children. “Each center is supported by 3 – 6 social workers and about 6,000 volunteers, — informs Ludmyla Lozova, Press Secretary of the Director of Foxtrot. — We induce people to “paddle own canoe”. Until 2006, the Group funded their social projects by their own; now, they cooperate with other companies.
Ruslan Kraplych, Chair of the Board of Princes Benefactors Ostrozkyi Foundation, also laid emphasis on targeting charitable efforts: “Are orphans aware of necessity in money, food or clothes? They are not given money; clothes and foodstuff are available at orphanages. In fact, they need parental care.” Proceeding from the concept of recognized needs, Foundation renders financial assistance for solving local problems community members are aware of. Specific feature of Princes Benefators Ostrozkyi Foundation is that support initiative groups too, as there are no NGOs in villages. “Basic standard we should master is partnership. Practical results are more important than implementers”, says Ruslan Kraplych.Finally, Ihor Popov, Director of the Ukrainian Grantmakers Forum, presented UGF action plans for 2007-2008. Among others, they will create the map of donor’s activities in Ukraine, hold the all-Ukrainian competition “Beneficiary of the Year”, conduct working meetings with grant managers, organize the conference on role of charitable organizations in cultural development, and take part in the conference of the European Foundation Center. UGF is going to change its name. “The point is, that we have expanded concept of philanthropy over 18 months of charitable work, says Ihor Popov. – New title shall reflect the fact that organization comprises not only grantmakers, but also entities that administer and distribute donations and implement targeted charitable programs. Because charity is not funds only. As French philosopher and author Jean Jacques Rousseau used to say, “What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?”